How to Turn a One-Star App Store Rating Into Five Stars

26 Feb 2021

Having a high average star rating can boost your app’s discoverability, encourage downloads, as well as improve your chances at getting featured by Apple or ranking in the top charts on the App Store.

In an ideal world, all your ratings would be five stars and all your reviews would be positive, but that’s practically unachievable, not to mention that a perfect overall rating looks unrealistic and suspicious. So we’re here to show how to not be fearful of bad reviews and seize them as opportunities to get five glowing stars.

Why do people give one-star ratings?

Very slight dissatisfaction about an app or any small issue may force users to give just one star, especially when there are many better alternatives available in the app stores these days.

Users are often only compelled to rate an app if they have a very strong opinion about it. Those opinions usually go one of two ways: “Wow, this app is amazing’ or ‘Ugh, this app is terrible’. Whereas users who think an app is merely ‘good’ or ‘serviceable’ will generally ignore the opportunity to rate the app altogether.

With that in mind, remember that even users who give you one star care about your app. They want to be seen and heard, so if you can acknowledge their feedback, keep them in the loop, they will appreciate it and potentially reconsider their rating based on their improved experience.

Anything else?

Another reason why someone might leave a one-star review is due to poorly-timed requests to rate an app, often when the user is in the middle of using the app or when they’ve not had the chance to fully experience the app.

Solution? Time your requests well. By that we mean asking users to rate at appropriate times throughout the UX and when they’re most likely to feel satisfaction with your app without interrupting their activity.

Read how we implemented this strategy to help our client Deliciously Ella achieve 4.9 average star rating.

How should you handle one-star ratings?

Addressing feedback directly can create a better user experience for your reviewers and potentially improve your app’s rating – if you do it right.

You can respond to all reviews of your app, old or new, in App Store Connect. When you respond, the reviewer is notified and has the option to update their review, which is the ultimate goal when responding to one-star reviews.

1. Address the reviewer by their name

Treat your users like real humans. You’ll be surprised how small gestures like this can make a huge difference in gaining someone’s trust.

2. Respond promptly

Don’t make your users wait too long for a response. They took precious time out to leave you feedback, the least you could do is get back to them on time.

3. Don’t use canned responses

This goes hand-in-hand with point 1. No one likes a canned response, so keep your responses as relevant and specific to the reviews as possible.

4. Show empathy

Whether the review is fair to you or not, being empathetic and offering an apology can make the reviewer feel heard and their opinion acknowledged.

5. Tell the reviewer what action you’ve taken (or plan to take)

Actions speak louder than words. Acknowledging a complaint is a good first step but reviewers really want their feedback to be actioned in some way.

6. Point the reviewer to useful FAQs and support

A link to a relevant FAQ or a support page can prevent the reviewer from feeling like they aren't getting enough help.

7. Direct the conversation offline

By providing your support email address in your response, you give the reviewer a way to contact you directly and take the conversation away from the App Store, which allows you to dig deeper into the issue.

It also shows that you actually care, and that you’re being proactive in helping them to a resolution.

Don’t ever think that there’s nothing you can do to change someone’s mind! Useful replies can actually turn a one-star review into a five-star review.

Even if the reviewers show no intention of giving your app a second chance, ignoring negative feedback can only do harm to your App Store presence… As long as you show that you’ve taken note of their feedback seriously, you’ve done your part.

Turn One-Star Ratings Into Five-Star Results

Want to boost your average App Store ratings and encourage user retention? Speak to us about strategies to turn negative reviews into positive experiences. Hit us up on or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.